Assessing vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural towns: methodological overview and practical challenges

Rural regions in the developed world face various stresses in the context of emerging global crises (climate change, natural hazards and cybercrimes, etc.) urging communities to adopt strategies to enhance their resilience. However, resilience strategies are often scattered and only based on tangible and visible symptoms, whereby several intangible yet crucial aspects are neglected. Through the 3VRUT consortium, a methodology is currently under development to evaluate, quantify, and classify the risks and threats subsisting at the crossroads of cyberspace and physical space in rural settings of the developed world. The present special session within the Hiroshima Conference on Peace and Sustainability aims to introduce, discuss and gather feedback on the preliminary results and overall methodological approach of the 3VRUT consortium. This approach includes i) the study of the 3Vs (Vitality, Vulnerability and Versatility resilience features) in eight rural towns from four partner countries (Japan, Germany, Poland and Spain); ii) the development of a rural resilience assessment model based on a set of indicators obtained through the combination of remote sensing data, on-site observation and survey as well as geostatistical data; iii) the selection of these indicators through the process of a systematic scope review of the recent literature examining community resilience assessment and the development. The immediate objective of the 3VRUT study is to combine remote sensing technologies with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to spot and predict changes in socio-economic behaviour and opportunities in a rural setting. During the session, researchers and members of the consortium will present preliminary results and discuss some of the potential directions and challenges that need to be tackled to build a reliable rural resilience assessment tool.

Keywords: Resilience, rural communities, sustainability indicators, remote sensing

Qualitative assessment of earth system and social resilience – A case study based on Tsukuba city

Remi Chandran, Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC)

Japanese cities are considered as the epitome of both mental and physical resilience. In most cases, they have quickly recovered from its repeatedly occurring natural disasters and also were able to provide citizens adequate financial and social support. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of man-made impact (Industrial pollution, deforestation etc) on the earth-system functioning to a degree that threatens the resilience of the Earth System and is a cause for the natural disasters. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic has made a grave impact, paralysing both the social and economic systems. A drastic attempt for financial recovery from COVID can also lead to exploiting the earth system – if not in Japan - elsewhere. Thus, focusing on Tsukuba city, the scientific enquiry in this research is – are Japanese cities resilient in its true sense and do we need a new set of indicators resilience assessment– Vitality, Versatility and Vulnerability?

Keywords: Resilience, Tsukuba, assessment tools, indicators

Investigating 20-years of Land-use and Landcover dynamic in rural and urban structure in Japan

Pegah Hashemvand, Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan (RESTEC)

Enhancing the resilience of rural and urban areas can effectively improve the development, reduce inherent vulnerability, enhancing both environments' ability to resist risks and disasters. For evaluating the resilience of rural and urban areas, an effective evaluation system and guidelines must be established. Human settlements and structures, in all their diverse forms, are one of the main land-uses types that evolve, transform, adapt, innovate and change with emerging trends. All these changes in human settlements and structures in rural and urban areas are closely associated with factors such as changes in population, economic potential and productivity, prevailing physical and social conditions, presence of enabling policies.

Therefore, the 3VRUT project tries to measure spatial-temporal land use and land cover changes through 20 years of development with special attention to changes of human settlements and urban structures leveraging publicly available satellite observations archives such as series of Landsat 5, 7and 8, and Copernicus sentinel-2 imageries, and machine learning technology using a cloud-computing platform.

Then this study tries to investigate and compare the altering drivers and the responses of both rural and urban environments. Considering major developments in urban’s transportation system (e.g. Tsukuba Express railway line) and economic advancement in the urban areas, we expect to observe a higher transition rate of other land-use and land-cover classes to the urban structure; whereas due to the migratory movement towards urban areas a higher transition rate into the abandoned area is expected.

Keywords: Satellite observation, resilience, human settlement, spatial-temporal change detection.

Exploring the research gap of studying Vitality, Vulnerability and Versatility of Rural Towns from a socio-economic versus a remote sensing perspective

Vineet Chaturvedi, Technische Universität München, Munich

The rural towns in developed countries are facing rapid changes and uncertainties. They are faced with risk and threats that exist at the intersection of cyberspace and physical space. In the wake of the fast-changing scenarios in the rural towns of developed countries in the environment, institutional, infrastructure, social and economic context there is a need to develop strategies to build resilience. The study on resilience, vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural towns lacks interdisciplinary approaches which connect socio-economic and remote sensing data collection, data analysis and data interpretation. In order to understand rural resilience at a larger scale connectivity between disciplines is essential. The objective of the research is to seek boundary objects which would foster a more integrated approach of assessing resilience, vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural towns. The basis of the research is boundary work theory, which assumes that different disciplines can be connected through boundary work or boundary objects. Boundary objects have both physical and social connotations. The research is based on a comparative literature review which compares how the understanding of the methodology, axiology and epistemology in socio-economic research and remote sensing differ and align. The research has so far concluded that there are boundary conflicts on three dimensions 1) Ontological. The concept of resilience, vitality, vulnerability and versatility are approached differently in socio-economic and remote sensing research. 2) Methodological: The research approaches and basic assumptions differ 3) Empirically: The types of indicators, scales, case studies, study areas and units of analysis differ. 4) Theoretically: The fundamental cause-effect and modelling assumptions differ. Boundary objects connecting socio-spatial behavior and socio-spatial change also include land use units, spatial restrictions, infrastructure development and environmental change. The conclusion is that the review and search for boundary objects in the field of resilience, vitality, vulnerability and versatility require empirical testing combining socio-economic and remote sensing observations and comparative analysis.

Keywords: Boundary objects, resilience, socio-economic, remote sensing

Resilient tools for rural resilience assessment. Mapping the challenges of small communities searching for the "good" assessment tool

Luc Ampleman, Jagiellonian University, Kraków (

Can resilience and sustainability assessment tools (R/SAT) be themselves resilient and sustainable? This question appears more than relevant, especially for all those small communities looking to evaluate their resilience capacity in a time of social, techno-economical, sanitary and environmental turbulence. Over the past two decades, the number of assessment tools aiming at diagnosing the resilience and sustainability of community spaces has boomed. Tackling the difficulty (and often the necessity) of measuring the vitality strength and the vulnerability level of communities/polities at various geographical scales and under multiple scopes, the crafting of these instruments is not without challenges. With the abundance of existing resilience/sustainability assessment tools, how can decision-makers choose the "right one"? Can one find such an instrument that promises to last over time and remain meaningful and easy to use by its stakeholders?

The present paper aims to take stock of technical, methodological, epistemological, communicational and institutional challenges that practitioners and scholars face while dealing with the use and crafting of R/SAT for rural communities. While many scholars and sources from the grey literature have already evoked different existing barriers in crafting and using rural R/SAT, few syntheses have proposed to map these barriers in a structured and holistic manner. The first section of the paper offers to identify and classify the epistemological and socio-institutional challenges faced by scholars and decision-makers while crafting the R/SAT. The second section goes a step further by addressing more specifically how these challenges touch upon the crafting of rural R/SAT, i.e. assessment instruments that focus on rural resilience and sustainability. Scoping in a step further, the third section attempts to illustrate the complexity of these challenges by exploring one specific but crucial area of rural resilience: the sustainability of rural infrastructure and the built environment.

Keywords: assessment tools, resilience, rural communities, sustainable infrastructure

An exploration of visual tools for communicating Resilience Assessment results to the community

Melisa Pesoa, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, (

The expected outcome of the 3VRUT project is a concise overview of the performance of eight communities in terms of resilience using different categories of indicators and several sources to obtain them, including remote sensing as the main tool. One of the challenges of the project is to communicate the results of the Assessment to a multiple target audience, ranging from researchers to the local community, who have the key role in the decision-making process. Therefore, this presentation has two main goals. The first one is to explore different ways of presenting the results of the Resilience Assessment in an easy and understanding way to the local community to facilitate the discussion and to trigger the development of improvement tools. The second one is to explore ways of combining the spatial results of the Assessment with the non-spatial ones, including the work at multiple scales and the address of uncertainties. Through a critical review of several Resilience Assessment works, we will try to find accurate visualization tools in order to be able to create an effective dialogue with the local communities.

Keywords: Resilience assessment, visualization tools, rural communities